President of Cambodian Red Cross Bun Rany, wife of Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, said that the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS infections among adults aged 15 to 49 has dropped to 0.8 percent in 2010 from 2.5 percent in 1998; it is estimated that the rate would drop to around 0.5 percent by 2015.
"Cambodia has seen remarkable success in fighting the disease in over the last decade; however, much work still needs to be done in order to eliminate the tragedy from HIV/AIDS," she told the gathering of about 700 people.
She said that to achieve the three zero strategy adopted by the UN General Assembly in New York in June, Cambodia has to double its effort to combat the disease, especially among the high-risk groups: female entertainment workers, men who have sex with men and drug users.
Meanwhile, Tony Lisle, UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Cambodia, said that HIV/AIDS infections were still serious and stigma and discrimination against the patients still persist.
He added that the global financial crisis has forced HIV/AIDS donors such as the Global Fund to cancel or reduce their funding to fight HIV/AIDS to developing countries. "This is the most concern for developing countries in fighting against the disease."
According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 34 million people living with HIV worldwide. During 2010, some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus, including an estimated 390, 000 children. It is estimated that some 1.8 million died from AIDS-related deaths in 2010.
Kim Sokuntheary, representative of all non-governmental organizations working with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, said despite the success in fighting HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, people living with HIV/ AIDS still face stigma and discrimination from health service providers and communities. "Moreover, some HIV/AIDS patients have discriminated against themselves."
"On the occasion of the World AIDS Day, we'd like to appeal to the government of Cambodia, development partners and charitable organizations to increase their financial support to Cambodia in order to achieve the United Nations goal of getting to the 3 zero strategy by 2020," she said.
Currently, Cambodia has an estimated 67,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. Some 6,000 of them are children, according to the National AIDS Authority. The disease had killed some 2,780 Cambodians in 2010 and about 2,500 in 2011.